Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pray for Christopher Hitchens?

A blog article appeared on CNN.com about Christopher Hitchens' cancer diagnosis, and arguing why Christians should pray for him.  Naturally, I have some problems with parts of the article.  Would you expect any different?

"I realize that certain believers couldn’t resist the temptation to see in this misfortune the avenging hand of God: the one who for so long blasphemed God was now getting his just reward.
But it’s always a very tricky business to interpret the purpose of the divine providence. After all, plenty of good, even saintly, people die prematurely from terrible diseases all the time, and lots of atheists and vile sinners live long prosperous lives before dying peacefully in their beds."

Right, meaning that the religious can make no predictions, give no answers about why things happen, and anything at all that happens to anybody doesn't conflict with the idea of a god controlling everything.  What good is that?  You know what another explanation for this is?  That there aren't any gods.  Why are religious claims always consistent with there being no gods?

"Hitchens’ disease is indeed ingredient in God’s providence, since at the very least it was permitted by the one whose wisdom “stretches from end to end mightily."

Ah yes, the same god that allows child rape, genocide, starvation, immense suffering, torture, misinterpretation of its commands, etc., has the power to stop all of it but doesn't, yet really is perfectly good.  The only way religions have survived this long is by making no falsifiable claims at all.

"But what it means and why it was allowed remain essentially opaque to us. Might it be an occasion for the famous atheist to reconsider his position? Perhaps. Might it be the means by which Hitchens comes to think more deeply about the ultimate meaning of things? Could be. Might it bring others to faith? Maybe. Might it have a significance that no one on the scene today could even in principle grasp? Probably."

Gotta love the last one.  It's covering their asses.  They're all eagerly waiting for Hitchens to convert to Christianity literally on his deathbed.  If he doesn't, that doesn't mean anything in their religion is invalidated, or that their god had nothing to do with his illness, it just means it has a significance that nobody can grasp.  We can't grasp it, don't try to question it or figure it out, just move along now, and keep putting your money in the offering plate.  Fools.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a very liberal Episcopalian who is quite welcoming of atheists, you had me until "fools." There are more polite ways to tell groups of people that they are behaving or thinking foolishly. But your approach makes you sound like a jerk. In which case, I'd rather be a foolish nice person than an un-foolish mean one.

Admin said...

Thanks for reading.

I'm not trying to be nice here. I'm trying to be correct. This is my space to write and express my thoughts and frustrations, not to win a popularity contest. You'd rather be incorrect and nice? Well, I'd rather be correct and rude to those who are deluded by their imaginations.

By the way, how nice is it when they tell me I'm going to hell?

http://www.atheistpropaganda.com/2009/04/dont-respect-people-who-think-were.html

Admin said...

And by the way, it seems strange to say that I had you until the last word, which was an insult. If you found the case convincing up until that point, the final word should not invalidate what came before it. If you'd negate the entire argument because I was mean at the end, then that goes a long way to explain the irrational state the world is in. The truth of an argument should not be judged by whether or not the person was kind at the end of it, unless the argument is arguing that they are a kind person.

Jim said...

I agree with Admin here. yes, it is rude to call people names and what not. But it is much more rude to tell everyone that does not believe exactly as they do that they are going to Hell. Or that the only way their life can mean anything when they are dying a painful death is to convert to their religion. It is offensive as hell for someone to tell me how and why my life has meaning. I do good deeds and make great sacrifices so that these people can live in a country where they are free to believe in any crazy crap they want. And then I have to suffer through intolerable babble about how they can save my soul.

You know what? I may fight for your freedom of opinion. Doesn't mean I want it shoved down my throat.

Jim said...

I agree with Admin here. yes, it is rude to call people names and what not. But it is much more rude to tell everyone that does not believe exactly as they do that they are going to Hell. Or that the only way their life can mean anything when they are dying a painful death is to convert to their religion. It is offensive as hell for someone to tell me how and why my life has meaning. I do good deeds and make great sacrifices so that these people can live in a country where they are free to believe in any crazy crap they want. And then I have to suffer through intolerable babble about how they can save my soul.

You know what? I may fight for your freedom of opinion. Doesn't mean I want it shoved down my throat.

Admin said...

Jim, you really need to subscribe to the comment feed. You may have missed the latest fundy battle. Be warned, it's more PG than Abdullah.

http://www.atheistpropaganda.com/2008/10/questions-atheists-cant-answer.html

Jim said...

Yeah, I caught that. I was going to jump in there, but you and Feki seemed to have it handled pretty well. Besides, I am so tired of religious nuts telling me that atheism is a belief system, and that we're all going to die and go to hell, and that they can prove gods exist, but they don't want to. With Abdullah, at least he tried to debate properly.

Magnamune said...

At least some people feel bad about this, right? I winder how many people are pray for him to get well, as opposed to praying he'll convert before he dies. I doubt there are many... Which is sad.

I know that praying does nothing, but the sentiment is meaningful. If my religious family pray I'd convert as opposed to praying I gget well, I'd be crushed.

Anonymous said...

Isn´t it a bit inconsistent to call someone a jerk because you called someone "fools"?
Espiacially if his whole argument was basically not to call someone names, even if the term describes them accurately.
Seems like quite the double standard to me.

Admin said...

I think what the first anonymous poster should do is to use my argument, but present it in a more polite manner. If he thinks that it was valid until the final word, then by presenting it more nicely than I did, he can be correct AND polite.

Jim said...

Unrelated, but I thought everyone should know that pedophilia is not the biggest crime, according to the Catholic Church. No, that would be female priests.

Yeah. Seriously.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_pope_abuse

Daniel said...

I was hoping Harriet Harman would throw a bitchfit and reveal her true Terminator form, but I haven't heard anything much out of Westminister because of the damn papal visit.
It's costing our hugely financially deficient government another (seven?) million, but it's ok, we Scots get to go see him for free.
I'll pe pissed if I have to go:(
I hope he gets assassinated, that would make my day.

Admin said...

Just to make it clear to the Echelon/Carnivore programs, the Admin of AtheistPropaganda.com neither encourages nor endorses the assassination of any public figure, including the Pope.

Admin said...

And remember that the Pope's god cannot protect him, but a bulletproof Pope-mobile can. The bulletproof material comes to us, of course, as the result of science/engineering, and not from prayer/magic.